I wanted to put together a list of things that have helped me so far along the way: books, DVDs, and other miscellaneous people or places or things. I'll probably add to this page as I find more things that I like or find useful.
Weight Loss Tools:
First up, of course, is Weight Watchers. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I couldn't do this without the POINTS system, and without my weekly meetings and weigh-ins. I like the accountability, I like the focus, I like the routine.
And ... my very favourite WW tool is the 3-Month Journal. I have written down literally everything I've eaten since November, and I do it in these journals. Again, not something that's going to work for everyone, but I love them. I'm on my third one!
I loved loved loved my Booty Camp Fitness sessions. It was such a great way for me to start being active outside of doing DVDs at home, and I KNOW I would never have pushed myself that hard if I'd been on my own at a gym. I took two 8-week sessions (for a total of 16 weeks), and in that time I lost over 20lbs and 20 inches. I KNOW! I love you Kelly!
I adore my heart rate monitor! I have this exact Polar F6 (yes, it's the men's, it's all I could find and it isn't any different except the watch face is bigger, which, all the better to see your calories burned, AMIRIGHT? Anyway, I just think this is such a great tool to have -- it really encourages you to push a little harder when you work out, even if it's just because you know you have to burn off those Cheetos you ate last night. OOPS.
I think The Beck Diet Solution is one of the most sensible weight-loss books I've ever read. It acknowledges that most of weight loss is mental, but not in a "oh no, you need therapy to get over all your food issues and learn to love yourself!" kind of way. Instead it gives practical steps on how to get into the habits of weight loss, or as the book says, how to think thin.
I remember I used to go to a (terrible) Weight Watchers meeting, and the (terrible) leader once said, "Come on people, think about it, what can the chocolate give you that the apple can't??" It made me so irritated! Because, you know, there are lots of things the chocolate can give us that the apple can't. That's why we got fat in the first place. If we weren't getting something from the 'bad' food, we wouldn't have been eating it! It can give us comfort, nostalgia, familiarity -- even a sense of freedom. But after I'd ranted at this at home a bit, a very wise friend of mine said, "Maybe you should just flip it: think about it like 'What can the apple give you the chocolate can't?" Ding Ding Ding! That was when I realized how important it was to think about weight loss and health in terms of the positive -- not about why you should cut out the bad stuff, but why you should add in more of the good stuff. 101 Foods is THE BEST resource for that. I'm totally behind any book that can make me feel virtuous about eating stuff I already love.
After I started thinking more about what I should put in my body and why, it sort of naturally led to thinking about food on a more global scale. I started wondering whether it really was better to buy local or organic, whether it was better to go meatless or to eat hormone-free meat. The Omnivore's Dilemma doesn't necessarily answer these questions, but it will give you a TON to think about.
Potatoes Not Prozac really changed the way I thought about my relationship and reactions to food. The author has done a lot of research into the ways our body handles sugar (and simple carbs, which are processed like sugars), and her conclusions are quite fascinating. I wrote about it a bit once, but basically it made me realize that a lot my reactions were biochemical, and not necessarily just a character flaw, as I'd always assumed. For some reason that made them easier to deal with. She does have a whole prescribed eating plan but I don't follow it.
Well, what can I say about Dietgirl besides that I would totally give up cake if I could have HER as a wife. I just think Shauna is one of the sweetest, brightest, most inspiring and crush-worthy bloggers around, and this book was my favourite Christmas gift this year. I plan to read it again and again, except I keep lending it out! I keep myself afloat by regularly reading parts of her blog archives.
Okay, obviously this is not a book exactly, but I wanted to give a shout-out to my favourite magazine, Cooking Light. I have like a zillion Weight Watchers and other healthy cookbooks, but it's Cooking Light that I love the most, and that I get the most recipes from. I love that it really is light and healthy cooking, but not anything you'd be embarrassed to serve to guests, like, "Here, eat my weird diet food!" (Yeah, Hungry Girl, I'm looking at you.)
Love love love my Jillian! This workout DVD gets talked about a lot in blogland, but for once it's justified. Easily the best workout video I've ever done. It has everything I want in a home workout: fast, easy to follow (no coordination or fancy footwork required), doesn't take a lot of space or equipment, and actually does give you a good workout. Enough said.
To be fair, I have to give a thanks to these Weight Watcher walking DVDs. When I first started working out I was seriously out of shape and these really eased me into things and got me into the habit of working out again. There's nothing specifically spectacular about them, I just liked that they were easy and short. A great way to get started.
Okay, now obvs I read a MILLION blogs and I love all of them, but two of them are really special to me.
The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl: I know I mentioned her already, but I just find Shauna so inspiring. I think the reason I find her story so appealing is because she lived the true fantasy: losing a ton of weight and having a totally different life at the end of it. Her growth as a person is so remarkable to read, because you can actually see it happening on the pages.
Kath Eats Real Food: I know there are a lot of food / health bloggers out there but for some reason I just adore Kath. I think it's because she has the kind of life I want to have, so I like living vicariously through her. Plus, don't tell anyone this, but sometimes when I can't decide what to make for dinner, I totally ask myself, "What would Kath eat?"